Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Update Under Way!

The update of Commando Ghost is being worked on and it is definitely something to look forward to, with its all new graphically stunning backgrounds and epic battle vibrations! The features that I added like vibrations and completely randomized backgrounds are not simple but I will explain them to you.  

To program a randomizer it is not very hard! First you have to say:

Random r = new Random(); // Create an instance of the Random class and call it “r”

Then to get a random number “x” between 1 and 6 you would code:

x = r.Next(1, 6); 

In Commando Ghost, I use this type of code to choose a random starting background visual.  Then using the randomly selected background number in my Draw() function I display the correct background using code something like:

switch (CurrentBackground)
                    case 1:
                        spriteBatch.Draw(background, Vector2.Zero, Color.White);
                    case 2:
                        spriteBatch.Draw(background2, Vector2.Zero, Color.White);
                    case 3:
                        spriteBatch.Draw(background3, Vector2.Zero, Color.White);
                    case 4:
                        spriteBatch.Draw(background4, Vector2.Zero, Color.White);
                    case 5:
                        spriteBatch.Draw(background5, Vector2.Zero, Color.White);
                    case 6:
                        spriteBatch.Draw(background6, Vector2.Zero, Color.White);

The code above gets the int “CurrentBackground” and finds which number is in it. It then displays a different background depending on the randomized number.

To have the Windows Phone vibrate is normally a way to show that the user touched or hit something in a game. The only hard part programming it was trying to find the code for it and also trying to find what class to use. Here is how to do it.
First add this at the top:

using Microsoft.Devices;

Then write:

VibrateController.Default.Start(new TimeSpan(0, 0, 0, 1, 0));

The code above tells the Windows Phone to vibrate for 1 second! Normally for button presses you want to keep vibrations short and for deaths they can be a bit longer!
These are just two of the areas I recently worked on for the update!

Thank you for all the support with Commando Ghost and my blog and I hope you like the update for Commando Ghost and continue reading about me, the eleven year old programmer!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Racking Up the Downloads!

1,185 downloads for Commando Ghost! I may be just eleven but that is pretty impressive. I may not have gotten millions of them like when a company creates the third game in a series, but I have to say 1,185 downloads is pretty good. If you downloaded my game, thank you so much for the support, I really appreciate it. The chart up above is taken from the stats tab under Commando Ghost in the App Hub. I’m really happy!

Now I am working on the update and remember please comment on the current game because I really would like the feedback!  My current plan is for Commando Ghost 2 to have power ups, tons of different enemies, a world/galaxy map with tons and tons of fun levels, a lite/trial version, a trophy room, achievements, an alien encyclopedia, player health and characteristics, perks for the player, different gameplay mechanics, new music and much much more! If you want to learn more please ask and follow my blog or subscribe to my YouTube channel where I will briefly talk about it in some of my videos! Please stay connected for more of Logan the eleven year old programmer! I hope you love Commando Ghost as much as I do!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Commando Ghost Ad!

I created an ad for Commando Ghost using Xtranormal. here is the link to the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsbOzSicmrs&list=HL1349217446&feature=mh_lolz

Out in the World!

Well, now that my Windows Phone game is submitted and finally published, I am super excited and want as many people to get it and hear my story! If you want to see my game here is the link:   

Please check it out and if you are lucky enough to have a Windows Phone please download it! Once again, I am super psyched about it and I hope you enjoy the game.

Next steps…
I am working on an update for Commando Ghost where I plan to add some improvements. As of right now I am still adding to the “feature list” and if you think of anything please tell me. First I plan to add vibration when you hit an alien force field; secondly I will add a high score system. I will also make the background change (I was saving the backgrounds for the different levels in Commando Ghost 2 but the background does get a bit boring so I decided to change it).  I will also tweak the gyroscope sensitivity because I believe that in the current version of the game it sometimes can get a bit “hectic”… so I will turn it down and tweak it in other areas as well.

As I said above, if you think of a something for an update or disagree with something I am adding in the update please tell me what you think.

Also as I create Commando Ghost 2, I will slowly release information and tutorials through the blog because Commando Ghost 2 is really different and crazy. I haven’t told you a lot of the stuff but as I implement it into Commando Ghost 2 you will find out!

Please check out my game and download it or follow the blog to get updates or information faster than normal. If you want to start coding please subscribe to my YouTube channel because I will be posting tutorials there (I’m sorry if I haven’t posted a video in a while I have been really busy with getting my game published and working on the update and Commando Ghost 2 but I will keep posting tutorials on my channel)

So now here are some questions for you:
1. Do you agree with the features I have planned for the update or do you think I should add more or different things?
2.   Are you interested in coding or do you have a son or daughter who is interested in it?
3.  Do you have a Windows Phone and if so are thinking of getting Commando Ghost?
4. Is there anything that you would like me to talk about on the blog or in one of my tutorials?
5. Would you like to see more screen shots of my game or have me do a video showing off my game?

I would really appreciate if you comment and tell me about what you think I should do. Anything will be helpful and if you download my game it will be super encouraging so I encourage you to do both!

Please enjoy the blog and please come and check it to see any updates on my game!

“I am Logan. An eleven year old programmer. I published a game and it is out in the world…”

It is up to you how I end this story!

Sunday, 30 September 2012


My game failed one time before this that I didn’t talk about in a previous article. It didn’t pass because on lower-end Windows Phones an application cannot use more than 90 MB of memory and according to the testing results my application exceeded that.  This meant in testing the ghost wouldn't move. Although when I tested it on my computer Visual Studio said my game only 36 MB of memory and I could run my game on the low-end (256 MB) emulator, so I don’t really know what the problem was but I do know there was one. Unable to figure out a solution, I finally just marked my game as requiring a device with more than 256 MB of memory.

That means, I finally got my game published and it is on the Windows Phone marketplace right now! I am so happy that it is finally out there so people can play it. I decided that all the stuff in the update that I talked about will actually be in Commando Ghost 2! Saying that, there still will be a minor update to the game. I hope you guys enjoy the game and tell your friends about it. I decided that this Commando Ghost will just be for interest (free) and then I hope to have tons of people get Commando Ghost 2 (as a paid app)!

Now I feel like I’m a master of submitting games because I had to try so many times it’s kind of funny. The next time I make a game, trust me it won’t take this long after I’m “Finished” to submit it, although I am 11 now so I guess I can have some room for error can’t I?

I’d like to thank everyone for their support and thank my family for motivating me and especially everyone who checked my blog to hear my story. It may not be a tale that a king would tell at his table at dinner but it’s definitely a tale around mine and it’s one I’m proud about because now I can finally say “I am an 11 year old programmer who has a published and it’s out in the world!”

I will continue to use this blog to talk about my adventures in programming and who knows maybe the next completely different game I make could have a ninja unicorn! I guess we’ll have to wait and see! (I always did like unicornsJ)

Thursday, 6 September 2012

A Minor Failure!

My game once again failed certification. All of my previous problems were fixed and I had to change no code. I can’t believe I actually forgot this and it is so minor that I submitted my game again a couple minutes later. I accidently forgot to put two game icons, so the icon that was displayed was the default icon. It was a quick fix, and once again I am in the period of waiting and worrying that comes along with submitting your game. I am severely confident, this time, and I believe my game will make it! One can only hope…

Wednesday, 29 August 2012


A few days ago, I re-submitted my game to the Windows Phone marketplace. I fixed all the faults and added some better visuals. In fact, the game is a lot more user friendly. I added an about screen and added volume controls to the settings screen. I fixed a lot of stuff and I think it was worth the effort. I also fixed a crucial problem with the force fields collision boxes. I am going to show you some before and after screen shots of my game and what I added:
Settings screen

I added the scale for the volume instead of just having it have an on and off switch. The volume works very well and I’ve tested it numerous times to make sure it works and won’t glitch or crash.

Before                                                                                   After


About screen

I added the about screen and put so information leading to here, my blog, and also put support information in it so if you have questions, comments, or feedback you can contact me.

Before                                                                              After

 (There was no before)


I simply made them more detailed and less pixelated; I have to say they look a lot better because of the touch ups. A noticeable thing that I think is the most prominent and important is that the alien’s texture gets an added “Mossy green” feel and colour to it that I blurred in it to make it look distinct and uniform.

Before                                                                                       After

Start screen

I put the settings screen button and about button on the start screen and made the buttons more “buttonesque” than before. I also added better touch points so they would work better.

Before                                                                                                                  After

I changed a lot of the visuals and code, now my game is being processed and I hope it gets published. I have worked very hard on this and I hope it pays off. I am continuing to work on the update and I probably will not be able to publish it as soon as I’d like. Thank you for all your support so far and I hope you like my game!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012


Well, earlier this week I got informed by the Windows Phone Marketplace that my game has been rejected and will not be put on the Marketplace because of certain faults. Specifically four faults.

The first fault was that the game would crash when on the pause screen when the user would touch continue. At first I was confused but when I tested the game afterward and it did crash. I must have changed something by mistake right before I submitted it.

The second fault was that the application would close when pressing the back button from some screens. I discovered this after I submitted my app.  Things worked fine from the main screen and “back” worked ok when you were playing the actual game but from other screens there were “issues”.

The third fault is that when music is playing from the Zune Queue the game will play its own music at the same time. I didn’t realize that this was a requirement.

The fourth and final fault is that the game didn’t have configurable settings for the volume of background music and sound effects. I had a settings screen but it was only accessible from the “Pause” screen and the “settings” icon I used was not as clear as it could have been.

So, this is a momentary setback. I will certainly fix the game; I actually have fixed most of the problems already. This week I will have to work and fix all of the faults that I have not already fixed. I will try to fix the faults as soon as possible, as I know some of you are waiting for my game to come out. Until then I will be working hard and I expect to get it done by at least the 25th and I might even add some features from the next version, which I had already started working on!

I guess it would have been better to pass all the tests the first time but I have to admit I learned some new things because of this rejection. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!” (Cheesy quote)

Thursday, 9 August 2012


I will keep you guys posted on the update and the progress I am making. I plan on releasing the update soon after the game is certified which would be ideal but I am afraid that I don't think that will be possible based on all of the additions that is going to be in the update. The game as I posted right now, is just the bones of the real game as I intend it to be, the update is everything else. Today for the update I’m going to be cleaning up my code. This is in my opinion one of the hardest parts. The reason I’m cleaning code is because yesterday I was trying to put some music in and add some new things and I couldn’t do it because I just didn’t even understand my own code. Whenever this happens I print out all my code and look at it and decide what I have to do. Based on all the code I have right now it might take more than 2 days. Right now the release date for my update is uncertain and I don’t think it will be soon because of all the work I have to do. I will try to get it out as soon as possible but the update is going to have a lot so it may take a while. So I’m cleaning up code today and possibly tomorrow! 

Wednesday, 8 August 2012


Hi I’m creating a Youtube video series tutorial for C# XNA Windows Phone.
                Please like and subscribe for more Youtube videos here's the first one. Enjoy. (With popcorn!)

Tuesday, 7 August 2012


To do almost anything you have to be inspired. Inspiration can come from anything; TV, friends and family, an author, or someone revolutionary. The inspiration for my game came, not from the actuality that I love to play videogames. It was from my Dad. My Dad, when he was a teenager was programming for the Commodore 64. He created a game with his friend and quickly followed up with the sequel on the PC. I grew up surrounded by technology and computers. I used to play my dad's game on our computer always knowing my dad had made the game. It was extremely fun and I realized I wanted to make someone smile, or get mad playing or doing something I created. I played videogames trying to find out what I like in a game. I then fell in love with them. Eventually I would read or play videogames to get away from the world and just slow down.
 Right after I turned ten I went to a two week C++ camp and learned C++. I enjoyed it and then started to take semesters at the same camp after Christmas break. I learned the code I enjoyed making programs, But my journey doesn’t end there.                         
I researched what you could program C++, hoping to be able to program a game for the XBOX 360. Sadly C++ wasn’t the main programming language but C# was. I quickly switched over and learned C#. My Dad then told me about a brilliant new market that’s the Windows Phone. I quickly learned XNA and C#, to program for the Windows Phone. Deciding that I wanted my game to have gyroscope, I researched the code and drew a ghost to move around on a white background. That’s how Commando Ghost was created.
A couple of weeks later my Dad and I go to a code camp and my game started from there. Amazed by the ghost gyroscope, I decide that the ghost should battle aliens and charge into them to kill.
To create the actual game, first I drew the background, aliens and force fields. As I created the main menu I forget to add a settings button to change sound. So when I created a pause screen I added my settings there. Then I added the info screen which I put through many drafts before choosing one, the one now in my game. All of this eventually led up to my game now, and my journey.
                My game is not top notch yet. I just wanted to publish version 1 of the actual game and then update it drastically. I’ve already started working on the free update and there are going to be power ups, new enemies, better AI, new music, 6 different galaxies to play in and boss battles. The update is going to totally change everything. So when you first get the game if you choose to, remember…
Much more is yet to come…
And more, is sounding pretty good!

Monday, 6 August 2012


I just submitted my game and I am waiting for it to be certified by Microsoft. The submission process is long and tiring, or so it seemed because I was anxious to get my game submitted and first I had to fix some stuff to hand it in.  When I checked the guidelines I found out I had to add a Settings screen to control the background music and sound effects and then I had to create a number of screen shots.
For people who haven’t published a game. Here are the general steps:
·         First consolidate your program into a Xap file by changing the device setting to Windows Phone and debug to release. Then choose the Build Solution from the Build menu in Visual Studio, this makes the required Xap file. Find it and enter it on the App Hub submission web page.
·         Then name your game and include a short description and detailed description. Pick a price. I chose 99 cents.
·         Choose which countries your game will be available in – I chose everywhere!
·         Upload screenshots and artwork.
·         Choose download and certification information – if you want your game to be immediately available in the marketplace – I chose yes!
·         Then submit.

Sorry if I missed anything but you can easily find the list on Microsoft development websites!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

I’m done!

I’m finally done Commando Ghost and as soon as possible I will submit it. I’m so excited and happy. I can finally look at my game and say “I did this!” I am so proud that I finished and happy when I saw people’s faces who were testing my game light up from enjoyment. I’m so excited and I hope you guys will buy my game. I will include code samples in some of my later posts to loop music or do really important stuff.
This is Logan, and I’ve made a game for the windows phone!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

One more step!

I know I haven’t posted recently but I have been working and I am just finishing up. I am almost done and will probably have it published into the market-place really soon. Here are some screen shots:

See how cool the game looks. I’m 11 now so I really should change my description! I’ll try to keep updating and I’ll tell you when my game is finished…

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Never give up!

Okay I missed the deadline. I didn’t realize how much stuff you actually had to do and how much time it took. I missed but I am Not giving up. I am going to keep working on this and finish up…

Thursday, 26 April 2012

It’s… A GAME!

Games aren’t exactly games unless there is a winning condition and a losing condition. Well, my game, I am proud to say, is … officially a playable game! Just a few seconds ago I finished collision detection for the force-fields. I am so happy my body is shaking with glee. I can actually show people my game and have them go “Wow, that’s a cool game!” The most pleasurable thing as a programmer is finishing a game. It is definitely a thing to be happy about! I’ll continue keeping you posted as the May 20th deadline closes in…

Finishing touches… give or take a few!

The next thing I am going to do is add collision detection for the force-fields! Hopefully I can finish because as soon as the force-fields are in the game actually has a goal and a death/game over point. I am reaching the apex of a finished game. When I first send out the game it’s not going to be amazing, because my deadline may 20th is stopping me from making it the best. I will update it so it is amazing, with new game-play options and easier start menu and there will also be a “level” aspect to the game (different parts of the galaxy) as it is in space. With new backgrounds, upgraded visuals (hopefully), better enemy intelligence, power ups and even new enemies and perhaps Boss Battles, that’s right… BOSS BATTLES!!! It’s going to be really cool, so don’t be disappointed at first, because more is YET to come!

Saturday, 21 April 2012


YAY. I finally got my start button to work, I am so happy. It took a while, alot of debugging, break points, and a couple of hours being hunched over finding any information I can find. Doing the touch screen seemed hard at first, but it is actually very simple... if you know how to do it. Paul Laberge from Microsoft lent me a Windows phone so I could test my game on it. I am going to work on it alot more so I will try to keep updating my blog!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Touch points!

If I could say one thing about touch points... is that they are SO hard to program. You think “all games have touch points, it must be so easy to program…” well I’m here to prove that Wrong! Touch points are nearly impossible to program. I am so frustrated with it. I had to read 3 programming books, search the internet 7 times… and I am still not done. Like seriously make it easier!
That’s all I have to say… so in a game… try to make there be as less touch points as you can do. That’s kind of hard to do as well. I’ll just have to push through… and this is just the start menu to make the game go! Tell you guys if I figure it out... I'll put some sample code you can copy when I find out how!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

The Art!

Blackness covered the screen, boring your mind out. That’s what would happen if there were no visuals.

The art is what appears on the screen… your character, enemies, even that annoying rock that’s in your way. In this post I will cover the art and how I made it.

I tried many art creating software but whenever I drew the character it had a white background… I looked up and downloaded gimp 2-6 and with this new software… when I started a project you could choose the background to be see-through. Now my character wouldn’t have a white background, over top the space background I drew. I was so happy, I love gimp. It works so well and you can draw some really cool stuff… good luck with your game, and if you can, try to start using Gimp!

Here is a link to gimp:  http://www.gimp.org/downloads/

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

How to start!

If any of you would like to start your own journey in programming phones, in this post I will enlighten you on how you start…

·         First download Microsoft Visual Studio Express on to your computer: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff630878(v=VS.92).aspx
·         You also download the Windows Phone SDK:
·         Second start reading books about programming and try to start maybe a programming course of some sort. I will include a list of good books that teach programming on this blog site in the near future.
·         When you think you have enough info about coding to get started, try and go.
·         Remember that you will need something to run the game on, like a windows phone or you can use the emulator… but I suggest using a phone because it is a lot better than the emulator.
·         Try to find a “partner” you can work with them in making the game.

I suggest having a group of people or a partnership working on the game, different people working on different things. Remember that you probably won’t make a million dollar game on the first try… no matter what don’t give up!

Always use comments in your code it will help you understand and if you come back later debugging you will know what you are looking at. Comments will save your life.

Kick start!

One of the hardest parts in making a game is the start, mainly because you are setting the ground work for the building; at first you see nothing and you are extremely discouraged by seeing all your work only show a blank screen, but eventually you push through and your game becomes visually enticing.

 I am writing my game in XNA which I think is easier for me to manipulate than Silverlight or other types.

 Since I started the blog now… well I am already into the making of the game by 1 week or so. I have some visuals and am poking around with the music. You just need a kick start to be able to begin creating a game and for me my kick start was a code camp!

Monday, 9 April 2012

Commando Ghost Is created!

The idea I started with is Commando Ghost. Commando Ghost is my idea that I hope will take me to the top.

The game is intended to be fun and quirky even with its ghastly story.

 You are an army commander, who is protecting the world from aliens, in the heat of battle you kill the alien prince and they retreat but not without payback. The aliens zap you with a bolt of light killing you. 3 years later the aliens are back and the earth is oblivious to the fact that they are attacking. Your fighting spirit arises as you must save the world in your new phantom form.

The game uses a gyroscope to control the ghost and destroy the alien invaders, but they come back with better weapons than before. You must kill the enemies but beware the force fields and shock waves which can vaporize the ghost. You must obliterate the hordes of marauding aliens.

The art for the game was also done by me on Gimp 2-6. So it has a youthful feel to it.

I am working very hard on this and I hope you buy the game when it is finished!
Here is a screen-shot of what I have so far!

The journey begins!

On March 28th 2012 me and my Dad went to a code camp in Toronto. This was the real place where I got the idea and had the courage to start and get going.

Many people there were very enthusiastic and supportive of these goals I had set out before me, especially because I am only 10 years old. I surprised a lot of people by just coming and by my background knowledge of the programming from reading and learning hands-on.

Three people came to run the code camp: Paul Laberge from Microsoft was teaching most of the lessons, Atley hunter, an experienced programmer, who has made games for the phone came in giving helpful advice, and Izabella Bachmanek from Wavefront was there who was running it all.

In this blog I will post about my journey in creating a game for the Windows Phone!